Mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras (ILCs) combine the advantages of DSLRs and upscale, compact point-and-shoot cameras. They provide lens interchangeability; a virtually limitless choice of existing lenses; as well as ultra-responsive autofocus (AF) and tracking before, during and after the exposure—in compact bodies. In short, they deliver the high-end feature array of middle- or upper-tier DSLRs and more in smaller, lighter, handier form factors. As a result, broad spectrum mirrorless cameras appeal to a wide variety of shooters.
As for emerging trends, it’s notable that some of the most recently released models we’ve included, such as the Nikon Z 5, the Panasonic Lumix G100 and the Sony Alpha 7S III, include feature sets clearly aimed at vloggers, social media influencers and gamers looking to improve their livestreaming capabilities. We expect this trend to continue and accelerate going forward.
To give you a good overview of the these broad-spectrum mirrorless cameras, we’ve selected nine outstanding models. Moreover, they include everything from established best sellers and leading contenders to cult classics—all poised for success in today’s extremely challenging retail environment.
A Selection of Broad Spectrum Mirrorless Cameras
Nikon Z 5
Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless Z 5 inherits much of its impressive feature set from the landmark Z 7 and Z 6. Moreover, it takes greater advantage of Nikon’s Z mount. The Z 5 provides in-camera vibration reduction (VR) image stabilization and a user-friendly balance of automation and manual control. Additionally, when connected to a computer via USB-C, the ILC operates as a webcam, making it a choice for vloggers and social media content creators looking to improve livestreaming capabilities.
A high-level entry point into Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless system, the Z 5 employs an FX-format 24.3-megapixel CMOS sensor and Expeed 5 processor. They enable it to capture ultra-shallow depth of field and clean low-light shots.
Also, its increased processing power and energy efficiency achieve sensitivity settings to ISO 102,400 and enable full-res, 4.5-fps bursts with full AF/AE. The ILC also boasts shutter speeds of 1/8,000 sec to freeze fast action. Video capabilities include 4K UHD/30p and 1080/60p (full-frame) recording using PDAF as well as in-camera and electronic VR to minimize shake effects. Users also benefit from focus peaking displays.
Other features include a 3.2-inch LCD monitor with tilt, touch, tap, swipe and pinch capabilities; a 3.69M-dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) that shows exposure, ISO, white balance and picture controls in real time; a silent mode; an AF system with 273 on-sensor points for speed and accuracy; eye-detection AF (people and animals); a time-lapse movie mode that takes images from interval timer mode and creates time-lapse sequences; a hot shoe; SnapBridge with Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity; two UHS-II slots; and weather seals. $1,399.95.*
Sony Alpha 7S III
The upscale Sony Alpha 7S III has a 12.1MP, BSI full-frame CMOS sensor and Bionz XR processor that delivers 8x the processing power of previous Alpha 7 models. Notable upgrades include 15+ stop wide dynamic range and a heat-dissipating system. In addition, the 7S III shoots 1,000 uncompressed RAW images at 10 fps using its mechanical or electronic shutter.
It provides in-camera 4K video recording at up to 120 fps, 10-bit depth and 4:2:2 color sampling. A more flexible postproduction workflow provides All-Intra and MPEG-H HEVC/H.265 coding—making it easier to integrate recordings made with pro camcorders using S-Gamut and S-Gamut3 Cine settings. It also supports HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) and enables 4K 60p 16-bit RAW output to an external recorder via an HDMI Type-A connector.
It’s the first Alpha camera with active mode 5-axis optical in-body IS for video. Movie assist functions include custom zoom settings, adjustable white balance, interval recording and still frame extraction. Its native ISO 80–102,400 range expands to ISO 409,600. It’s also the first Sony camera to shoot in the HEIF (High Efficiency Image File) format and is the first Alpha ILC to use a hybrid AF system with 759 phase-detection points covering 92% of the sensor.
Notable is a side-opening, tilting 3-inch, 1.44M-dot rear LCD that facilitates gimbal-mounted shooting. Other features include focusing down to -6 EV; a 9.44M-dot, 0.64-type Quad-XGA EVF; real-time tracking and eye AF; a digital audio interface; two CFexpress slots; 5GHz/2.4GHz wireless LAN; USB tethering; a USB Type-C connector; and USB PD support. $3,499.99.
Canon EOS M6 Mark II
The latest iteration of Canon’s full-featured APS-C-format M-series ILCs provides impressive performance parameters. It is aimed at serious enthusiasts seeking a compact mirrorless camera with maximum still and video firepower at an attractive price. The ILC features an ultrahigh-res 32.5MP APS-C CMOS sensor coupled to an advanced Digic 8 processor. Together they deliver a full-res burst rate of a sizzling 14 fps with full AF/AE tracking, and sensitivity settings of ISO 25,600, which expand to 51,200.
The ILC also records 4K UHD video at 30p and Full HD at up to 120p. Furthermore, its Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology integrates two separate photodiodes into each pixel for enhanced phase detection and faster lock-on without hunting. It also employs a 3-inch, 1.04M-dot, 180º tilting touch-screen LCD. To keep the camera as compact as possible there’s no built-in EVF; however, photographers can add one by acquiring the optional Canon EVF-DC2.
Other notable features are movie servo AF mode for smooth transitions, tracking sensitivity and AF speed adjustments; face tracking and touch AF; as well as built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for linking to mobile devices and controlling the camera remotely.
In black or silver, it comes bundled with the EF-M 15–45mm f/3.5–6.3 IS STM lens and EVF-DC2 attachable EVF. The lens features built-in lens-shift IS and a stepping motor for enhanced video performance. $1,099.
Panasonic Lumix G100
This lightweight, 20.3MP Panasonic Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera boasts intuitive controls; excellent sound quality; a tilting LCD for selfie framing; and 4K video recording. Clearly aimed at vloggers and media content creators, its specialized feature set takes it notches beyond its archrival—the smartphone. For starters, the G100’s high-res sensor records smooth, 4K QFHD (3,840×2,160 ) video at 30p/24p in MP4 and Full HD 60p.
Its 5-axis hybrid IS delivers shake suppression for stable video when walking or in a moving vehicle. Moreover, a video selfie mode captures both the videographer and background in focus without aperture adjustments.
Further, a static-type touch control system permits vloggers to use its 3-inch, 1.84M-dot, free-angle monitor to compose selfies and shots from high or low angles. Shooting assist functions let them check the composition during recording in various aspect ratios.
Notably, OZO Audio by Nokia ensures high-quality spatial audio recording and universal social media shareability. Three microphones record clear, appropriate sound. And an audio tracking feature tracks the subject’s voice, while auto mode recognizes the best setting and switches between subject tracking and ambient sound recording modes.
Other features include max ISO 25,600; 4x/2x slow, 8x/4x/2x quick FHD motion and time-lapse capture; V-Log L for a flat, neutral gamma curve for grading with LUT; a 3.68M-dot viewfinder; Bluetooth 4.2/Wi-Fi 2.4GHz connectivity; an upload button; and HDMI output. With Lumix G Vario 12–32mm f/3.5–5.6 Asph lens, $749.99.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III
This significantly upgraded MFT model provides many key features of the Olympus pro OM-D series in an elegantly compact, high-value package. Moreover, it is a great choice for street photographers and travelers. The ILC features a 20.4MP Live MOS sensor that works with an advanced TruePic VIII image processor. The pairing delivers crisp full-res images at 10 fps using a mechanical shutter and up to a blistering 30 fps with the electronic shutter. It also provides ISO settings to 25,600.
The lightweight camera employs a compact 5-axis in-body IS unit for 5.5 EV steps of compensation (6.5 EV with sync IS). Moreover, its components were miniaturized to deliver the smallest possible body. Improvements in power saving permits use of the compact BLS-50 battery.
Its dustproof, splashproof, freezeproof body has a refined grip and retooled mode dial. With 121-point all-cross phase-detection AF, users can select from six target options. Touch shutter/touch AF operation is enabled using the touch pad, even while tracking subjects.
Also notable are 30-fps bursts and C 4K 24p, Full HD 30p/60p and All-Intra video recording; information from the AF sensor is used for focusing when recording. Combining 5-axis IS with electronic IS makes it possible to record stable video without stabilization equipment.
Other features include long-exposure shooting with live composite, live bulb and live view; RAW shooting; pro capture mode; focus bracketing/stacking; 50MP tripod high-res shot; a 2.36M-dot EVF; anti-flicker shooting; and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth. In black or silver, $1,199.99.
Sony Alpha 6600
This is the latest model in Sony’s high-performance compact a6000 series. The thoughtfully upgraded premium, E-mount ILC is a superb street shooter with enhanced video capabilities. It also makes an elegant travel companion.
Its 24.2MP APS-C-format Exmor CMOS sensor is coupled to a Bionz X processor. Consequently, the camera delivers enhanced 4K HDR (HLG) video capture at up to 30 fps with full-pixel readout and no pixel binning. It also achieves a full-res RAW burst rate of 11 fps with AF and AE, as well as expanded ISO settings to 102,400.
The sensor combines wide-area 425-point phase-detection plus 425 contrast-detection points to deliver precise, decisive AF in 0.02 sec. What’s more it provides superior object identification; faster, more consistent tracking; and 16-bit recording as well as 14-bit RAW file output for capturing a wider tonal range and color gamut.
Viewing options include a 2.36M-dot Tru-Finder EVF and a 3-inch, 921K-dot, tilting touch-screen LCD monitor. The 6600 captures 4K UHD 3,840×2,160 video at 30 fps, 25 fps and a cinematic 24 fps. It also records Full HD video at a slow-motion 120 fps, all in XAVC S format. What’s more, it supports custom color, Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) and S-Log2/S-Log3 Gamma profiles. Other features include 5-axis SteadyShot Inside IS; Wi-Fi as well as NFC and Bluetooth connectivity; and a magnesium body. $1,399.99.
Sigma’s audacious L-mount ultracompact camera redrew the boundaries of the full-frame mirrorless class with its small size and high specs. Breaking the boundary between still and cine imaging, the fp achieves pro-caliber functionality in a uniquely compact, slim body. Moreover, it offers a convenient platform for custom configuration by adding Sigma and third-party accessories using dedicated mounts.
Measuring just 4.43×2.75×1.78 inches and weighing less than 15 ounces (body, including battery and SDXC card), the aluminum alloy ILC is resistant to the elements. Notable is its 24.6MP BSI full-frame Bayer CMOS sensor that achieves 14-bit color depth and captures full-res 18-fps bursts.
In addition, a 49-point contrast-detection AF system provides face-detection, eye-detection and focus-peaking readouts. What’s more, photographers can expand the camera’s base sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 25,600 from ISO 6 to 102,400. It also offers 4K UHD video recording at up to 30 fps; supports 12-bit CinemaDNG external recording at up to 25 fps; and records Full HD video at up to 120p for slow motion effects.
Plus, Sigma’s teal and orange mode mimics Hollywood color-grading techniques, while a “director’s viewfinder” function simulates pro effects like those captured by Arri, Alexa and Sony cameras. Other features include 6,000×4,000-pixel resolution for RAW/JPEG files; a 3.15-inch, 2.1M-dot touch LCD; a UHS-II SDXC slot; a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port; and a micro-HDMI port. $1,799.
Nikon Z 50
A classic example of “less is more,” Nikon’s new broad-spectrum, entry-level Z 50 is amazingly compact and sleek. It is an excellent choice as a walkaround camera for travelers and street shooters. Moreover, it delivers impressive imaging performance thanks to its 20.9MP DX-format (APS-C) CMOS sensor that’s mated to an Expeed 6 image processor.
Furthermore, the diminutive ILC is designed around Nikon’s wide Z mount. Its native sensitivity range of ISO 100–51,200 for still images can extend to an ISO 204,800 equivalent. And it provides excellent low-light performance. In addition, the Z 50 records 4K UHD video at up to ISO 25,600. It also achieves a very respectable 11-fps burst rate with AF/AE.
In addition, the camera employs a 209-point fast, hybrid AF system and is the first DX-format camera to adopt eye-detection AF. The ILC also features a 3.2-inch, 1.04M-dot flip-down touch LCD screen and a .39-inch, 230K-dot OLED EVF with 100% coverage. Other features include Full HD video recording from 24–100 fps; intuitive controls; time-lapse and interval shooting; SnapBridge wireless connectivity; and various creative and filter effects. $859.95.
Canon EOS R5
The flagship of Canon’s EOS full-frame, mirrorless ILCs, the pro EOS R5 features a 45MP CMOS sensor and advanced AF system that locks onto fast-moving subjects with commendable accuracy and speed. When using the mechanical shutter, it shoots at 12 fps; 20 fps using the virtually silent electronic shutter. It is also one of the first EOS models employing Canon’s advanced Dual Pixel CMOS AF II technology; it provides nearly 100% coverage of the AF area.
Another first is EOS iTR AF X, which uses AF-tracking algorithms and deep learning to optimize the sensor’s readout speed as well as the new Digic X processor’s speed. Further, its 1,053 automatically-selected AF zones detect a human eye, face or head, as well as the eyes, faces and bodies of animals, and adjust focus accordingly.
Additionally, 5-axis in-body IS works with the optical image stabilizer in IS-equipped RF lenses, providing 8 stops of shake-effect correction. And the R5 has an ISO 100–51,200 range that’s expandable to 102,400 (stills).
Also noteworthy is the ability to record uncropped 8K RAW internal video at up to 29.9 fps and 8K internal video at up to 29.97 fps in 4:2:2 10-bit Canon Log (H.265)/4:2:2/10-bit HDR PQ (H.265). It also captures 4K internal video at 119.88 fps in 4:2:2 10-bit Canon Log (H.265)/4:2:2 10-bit HDR PQ (H.265). In DCI modes, 8K/4K video is uncropped, and Dual Pixel CMOS AF II is available in all 8K/4K recording modes.
Other features include a 0.5-inch, 5.76M-dot EVF with a 119.88-fps refresh rate; a 3.2-inch, 2.1M-dot vari-angle touch LCD; CFexpress/SD UHS-II slots; 5GHz/2.4GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity; the ability to voice-tag photos/videos; and weather-proof construction. $3,899.
*Prices are body only unless otherwise noted.